SPORT

Racing Santander delivers King’s Cup ultimatum to club president

Players and staff will forfeit quarterfinal tie if entire board does not resign

Racing players applaud their fans at the Anoeta stadium.
Racing players applaud their fans at the Anoeta stadium.Juan Herrero / EFE

After a meeting with the coaching staff early Monday, Racing Santander’s players have taken the decision to refuse to play its King’s Cup quarterfinal second-leg match against Real Sociedad unless the club’s president, Ángel Lavín, and the board present their resignations.

The players will not take to the field in El Sardinero on Thursday night if the board remains in place in protest at not having been paid their wages at all so far this season. “As has been made known in the media, we are owed salaries dating back several months despite the reiterated promises of the president. […] The lack of response from the board and the increasingly serious economic situation in which we find ourselves have led to a unanimous decision by the players and staff to request the immediate resignation of the president and board,” a statement to the press read.

In the case that third-tier Racing fails to honor the fixture, the tie will automatically be handed to Real Sociedad and the club will be banned from next year’s King’s Cup. In the side’s previous match against Primera side Almería the players staged a sit-in protest on the turf of El Sardinero for the first 15 seconds of the match. During that match, fans tried to invade the VIP box at the stadium, where Lavín was watching the game. Despite being relegated in two consecutive seasons, from 2011 to 2012, Racing is on a fine run and sits top of its group in Segunda B while also having eliminated Sevilla and Almería in the cup.

The only precedent where a club failed to honor a fixture came in 2000, when Barcelona took to the field at Camp Nou for a King’s Cup semifinal and then pointed out to the referee that it could only muster 10 players – two of whom were goalkeepers – to face Atlético Madrid, as the tie clashed with an international week and competition rules only permit the use of three youth team players.